On Mount Tsghuk (3582 m), the highest peak on the border of Syunik and Artsakh, an Armenian-English group of archeologists and art historians have discovered more than 1000 cave paintings, the largest group of cave paintings found so far in Armenia.
Anna Khechoyan, the head of the Armenian team and researcher at the Institute of Archeology, spoke about the findings at a meeting with reporters. The head of the English team was Tina Walkling.
The paintings on Mount Tsghuk date to different eras. They noticeably differ in execution technique, style, and content.
“There are different scenes, everyday to mythological motifs, animal paintings, and rich compositions. So far, it has not been possible to determine the age of the oldest drawing,” said Anna Khechoyan.
As “Armenpress” reports, the aim of the project was to study and classify the paintings in accordance with the requirements of modern science. According to Khechoyan, a variety of specialists are participating in the project – geologists, archaeologists, and art historians.
“Dating cave paintings is a problematic issue. Usually, the age of the oldest one is determined. Besides, I should note that it is incorrect to perceive cave paintings as a separate phenomenon. The archaeological environment of these objects also needs to be evaluated,” remarked Boris Gasparyan, researcher at the Institute of Archeology.
Gasparyan also added that in Armenia, rock paintings are endangered because they are usually located on agricultural land.
According to experts, the age of the earliest drawings in our territory dates back to at most the 12th millennium BC. Even if there were earlier drawings, they could not have been preserved since all the stones must have been gotten polished as glaciers melted. The earliest drawings are found in the Geghama mountains and are believed to date to the Middle Mesolithic.
The study of cave paintings is a new direction in Armenia. The Institute of Archeology engaged in this direction in 2002, while works on Tsghuk began in 2008.